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Elections 2020. Oligarchs to prevail in Parliament of Kyrgyzstan

President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov received the Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission for Elections and Referenda Nurzhan Shaildabekova the day before. The information did not even arouse interest in the civilian sector, which belatedly began to toll an alarm bell because of the exorbitant vote threshold.

In fact, the working conversation between Sooronbai Jeenbekov and Nurzhan Shaildabekova is very important.

The meeting of the head of state with the CEC chairwoman is a signal of the White House: there will be no early elections to the Parliament of the 7th convocation.

 They will be held on time, exactly in a year. At least, the dates of elections at various levels are indicated in the official message sent out by the presidential press service following the meeting. And, so to speak, the elections to the Parliament will be held in October 2020.

About game rules

Six months ago, speaking at a parliamentary meeting, Sooronbai Jeenbekov said: «Parliamentary elections will be held in 2020. All participants of the elections will have equal rights. The election rules will be determined a year before the start, they will not change. All parties will be informed in advance about the rules of the game.»

The head of state kept his word. The rules of the game were announced and, hopefully, an end was put to the discussions on the dates and dissolution of the Parliament.

 There will be no open electoral lists.

The main innovation of the upcoming parliamentary elections is a 9 percent threshold that parties must overcome in order to get into the Parliament. The apathy with which the civilian sector and the parties themselves reacted to the innovation is surprising.

Deputies of the Parliament approved the 9 percent threshold at the end of June. However, no one tolled the alarm bell, did not hold round table discussions, did not oppose. International organizations, previously sensitive to any rollback from democratic principles, also kept silent. Has Kyrgyzstan ceased to be their model of Western-style democracy in Central Asia?

Our country has become the only state in the CIS with such a high electoral threshold.

 It is 7 percent in the neighboring Kazakhstan, in Russia — 5. As for European countries, it is also up to 5 percent on average.

Active discussion of the 9 percent threshold began just now. The deputies themselves are alarmed. But as they say, when it’s gone, it’s gone...

Why the high threshold is bad

If Kyrgyzstan had a developed party system, a high electoral threshold would be perfectly acceptable. Rather, it would not become a disaster. Such a course of events would be logical for the Government based on its party. It would try to take a majority in the Parliament and eliminate «the headache» in the form of small but demanding parties.

Former parliament speaker, Professor Zainidin Kurmanov believes that the goal of the high electoral threshold is to achieve party enlargement and political stability so that small parties do not dictate their terms to large ones.

«But this is possible in countries with developed parties. In our country, this is an attempt to keep the oligarchic groups in power and close the entrance to the Parliament for newcomers. But young parties are change of generations and new opportunities for the development of the country,» said Zainidin Kurmanov.

This is the monopolization of power in the hands of the protoparties, oligarchic groups and further political and economic stagnation. This is the main disadvantage.

Zainidin Kurmanov

There is no point to wait for renewal

It is already obvious that the chances of renewal of the Parliament are negligible. That is, new faces, of course, will come, but, in fact, from the same «elite» group. The 9 percent threshold and the reluctance to introduce open party lists will strengthen the monopoly of the clan oligarchic system.

Parties in Kyrgyzstan are clubs of partners with same interests, often business interests.

They do not even hide that they intend to defend the interests of a certain part of society, that they have their own concept of the country’s development, their own ideological principles. Therefore, our pseudo-parties are not looking for an ideological voter. All slogans and campaigns are nationwide and for the whole country, so, specifically for no one.

Another very important aspect: a year before the 2020 elections, there is no clarity in the issue which party will become the party in power.

Obviously, Kyrgyzstanis will traditionally vote not for programs or even for a party brand, but for specific politicians. May not very educated, albeit not with the purest reputation, but recognizable and with money.

Monetization of a vote in elections is a predictable process in a country with such economic growth rates as ours, with such a level of unemployment and poverty. Bribery of voters has always been one of the most popular and working technologies in Kyrgyzstan. The next parliamentary elections will not be an exception.